Notebook: The Record-Setting Kevin Williams

Defensive tackles probably aren't supposed to be as athletic as Kevin Williams, but the fifth-year Viking just continues to turn out defensive touchdowns so often that he is tied at the top of the franchise's list with six former defensive backs.

Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams is on a roll and ready to face a team he has fared well against in the recent past.

In the last eight games against the Chicago Bears, Williams has produced seven sacks, but he wasn't about to cite any specific matchup as a reason for his Chicago success.

"Division rival, man. We do play them twice, so I get a chance to square off against them twice a year," Williams said before trying to deflect individual attention. "The biggest thing is we're just trying to win. Those sacks don't mean anything if we don't win."

The Vikings need to keep their winning ways intact – they've won their last four and their last five of six games – if they are going to stay in the lead for the NFC's final wild card playoff spot. With the New Orleans Saints winning on Sunday, the Vikings need a win to stay one game ahead of the Saints and equal their conference record at 6-4, which would be a tie-breaking component between those two teams.

But the Vikings, including Williams, are trying to keep their focus on their matchup Monday night. For Williams, that means being entertained by the talk between Bears center Olin Kreutz and Vikings nose tackle Pat Williams.

"It's nothing personal. Those guys just have fun jaw-jacking. It makes the game go by faster," Kevin Williams said. "You're dead serious when the game is going on, but off the field and all that other stuff, it's just fun."

It's especially for the winning Vikings lately. Kevin Williams has been a big part of that this season, as his playmaking ability has been second to none.

He has two interception returns for touchdowns this season, a rare feat for a defensive lineman.

"A lot of times they teach you if you're not getting pressure and you're not getting to the quarterback, just get your hands up. That's just where the plays are," Williams said. "Guys that are getting double-teamed should get their hands up and try to deflect the passes. They're supposed to go to the DBs (defensive backs), but I've caught a couple."

That has created an interesting exchange at times between the 6-foot-5, 311-pound Williams and the much smaller defensive backs that are supposed be more accustomed to that role.

"They say I'm trying to take their job away, but we don't too much fool around. Sometimes, they're like, ‘Wow, how do you keep doing it?' but I'm just trying to get to the ball just like they are and it just so happens that they've fallen my way," he said, adding that the defensive backs can't give him a hard time about his running style. "There ain't much to say if I score it. If I crawl on my hands, you really can't say anything as long as I get in the end zone."

To be sure, Williams said he doesn't have any incentives for interceptions in the seven-year, $50 million contract extension he signed last season, although he did say he'd have to go back and check that. Even so, his play has garnered the attention of opposing coaches and players.

"Kevin Williams has really been a great player since he has been in the league if you ask me," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "I have always been a big fan of him playing the defensive tackle position. He has a lot of athletic ability; he's an athletic inside player. If you play hard and you're a good football player, you get in position like that to make some great plays like that. For some reason great players seem to end up in the right spot when they are playing hard and get an opportunity to make plays like that. It doesn't surprise me that of course he can make plays like that."

Said Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris: A: "It's real good to see him do what he does. His stats are out of this world, Kevin and Pat also," Harris said. "To see how many years he has in the league and he is still being productive, both of those guys are amazing players."

In the last four years, Williams has a 77-yard fumble return for a touchdown, a fumble recovery in the end zone, and this year has interception returns of 54 yards and 18 yards for touchdowns.

The four defensive touchdowns put him in a seven-way tie for first place in a Vikings career, but it's no surprise that the other six on that list were all defensive backs. Chris Doleman, who had three defensive touchdowns in his Vikings career, is the next closest to Williams' accomplishment, but Williams insists he doesn't look at the records.

"It's the farthest thing from my mind," he said. "I'm concerned with us winning games and making it into the playoffs every year. That's the most important thing. Records are just individual accolades."

KEEPING FOCUS

While the Bears are searching for some positives in an injury-marred season, the Vikings are trying to guard against thinking too much of their four-game winning streak and pole position for the NFC's final wild card spot.

"You just want to keep doing what you're doing and don't fall into that trap with people patting you on your back. Just keep coming to work every day and ignore that stuff," quarterback Tarvaris Jackson said.

Of course, Jackson knows how quickly the stock of an NFL quarterback can rise and fall in the eyes of the fans and analysts. He will be playing in his first Monday Night Football game broadcast on ESPN, and it's a chance to show the station's television analysts his abilities first-hand. Still, he is having none of that talk about showing up his one-time critics.

"I try not to fall into that trap," Jackson said. "I try not to get into that with those guys. That's their job, to give their opinion about different guys and how they are playing. Plain and simple, I wasn't playing very good at the beginning of the year. I can't be angry at those guys; they weren't the one out there playing. It just gives me extra incentive to go out there and play hard because I want to win this football game."



  • Chester Taylor (offense), Antoine Winfield (defense) and Heath Farwell (special teams) are slated to be the Vikings' captains Monday night.

  • The Vikings have won three games in a row by 20 points or more for the first time in team history.

  • The Vikings are 3-0 when Tarvaris Jackson has a 60-yard touchdown pass, like he did the last time the Vikings and Bears met and he connected with Troy Williamson for a 60-yarder.

  • While Adrian Peterson lost his NFL rushing lead last week with a 3-yard game, he still entered the weekend leading the league with a 109.1-yard rushing average per game. Last time against the Bears, he had 224 yards and three touchdowns.

  • Peterson's last performance against the Bears is impressive, but Chester Taylor has had good success against them as well. In the past four games against Chicago, Taylor has 412 rushing yards and six touchdowns.

  • WR Sidney Rice entered the weekend tied for the lead among NFC rookies with 13 catches on third down.

  • Safety Darren Sharper has seven interceptions against Chicago and CB Antoine Winfield has two interceptions in the past three meetings with the Bears, including a 7-yard touchdown.


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